The Cathédrale Saint Pierre in Poitiers is a marvelous Angevin Gothic structure located down the hill from the town center. It is surrounded by a large parvis, used for ages by youngsters for their games. Every time we go to the cathedral we notice something very unusual – soccer balls nestled among the sculptures on the facade on the south and west.
We have been there at times and seen half a dozen balls captured by the stone goalies who delight in mocking the players below.
The next shot tells the full story – the lower figure is distraught with the loss of the ball while the demon above exults in his triumph. PJ proposes an alternate interpretation, that the demon figures are upset because they have failed as goalies as the children below have scored with their shots.
Of course there always in alternative interpretations in much medieval sculpture but either way, the balls provide a form of liturgical decoration that the builders never anticipated.
This is part of a series of posts featuring an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer to whet the appetite of diners. Each of these will explore a single interesting feature of medieval architecture or sculpture. To see other amuse-bouches, follow this link.